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The Secret Service warned the Capitol Police the day before the Capitol riots that some of President Trump’s supporters were threatening violence against them.
Emails obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request by the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington show that the Secret Service warned the Capitol Police that some of the people arriving in Washington for Trump’s rally were pledging violence against a police force that they said “sides with the enemy.”
The emails offer more context to the warnings issued about a plethora of threats against the Capitol ahead of the day of the actual attacks—and raise more questions about how the U.S. Capitol Police were so ill-prepared for the coming onslaught.
An email from the Secret Service to Capitol Police warned that one user of the right-wing social media app Parler had made multiple violent threats specifically against the Metropolitan Police Department as well as any police in D.C. that opposed Trump:
“The user posted multiple threatening posts from today (01/05/21) to include, ‘Its time the DC Police get their ass whooped for being traitors in our nations capitol’, ‘DC Police are the enemy of the people. No mercy to them on the 6th. They are not on our side’, ‘time to fight! We cant trust the police, the laws, or the politicians. It’s time to take out all of them to remain a free country on the 6th.’ And ‘The police need to be dealth (sic) with on the 6th. Our 2A covers Marxist police officers. If they want a war, they will get one Wednesday. (middle finger emoji) the DC police.”
At its conclusion, the email added that there wouldn’t be any follow-up investigation unless the Capitol Police requested it.
The Secret Service also internally circulated other emails offering a more detailed account of the possible threat to officers heading into January 6. That included a Parler post that stated that “DC cops are our enemy” and “corrupt cops are now protecting the deep state.”
The Capitol Police have previously admitted that they’d received multiple warnings about potential violence like these from the Secret Service, but argued that they received little evidence that a broad assault on the Capitol was brewing before the actual riots broke out. The officer heading the U.S. Capitol Police was forced to resign shortly after the disastrous day.
A Senate report released in June that investigated the causes of the riot found that the Capitol Police received multiple intelligence warnings that the Capitol was a target before January 6, but failed to properly act on that intelligence or communicate to officers what might be to come. Thousands of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol on that day, injuring hundreds of officers and overrunning the building, with lawmakers barely escaping before they were trapped by the mob.
The FOIA release also includes multiple other examples of violent rhetoric that the Secret Service had found in its monitoring.
“An insurrection doesn't come out of nowhere. We need to know what the people tasked with defending our government knew ahead of time and did to prepare for it. These emails shed some light on that and magnify the need for a thorough Congressional investigation,” CREW Communications Director Jordan Libowitz told VICE News in an email.
A House select committee is investigating the causes of the riot, and held its first hearing in July. These emails raise more questions about why the Capitol Police were so ill-prepared for the riots when they happened, and why intelligence wasn’t shared better between agencies.
The emails can be read here.
This story has been updated with comment from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.